ALONE, the organisation which supports older people, has responded to Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien's announcement that an allocation of €73.75 million is being made available for Housing Adaptation Grants for older people and people with a disability living in private houses in 2020.
ALONE has welcomed the allocation, however the organisation believe that more funding is needed to ensure that Ireland’s growing ageing population can age at home safely and securely. ALONE work with older people on a variety of housing issues such as housing options, housing adaptations, housing aid and security of tenure.
ALONE’s 2018 report Housing Choice for Older People in Ireland shows that, at a conservative estimate, an investment of €84.5 million a year is required over the next 10 years in adaptation grants to allow older people to continue to age at home safely. The spend on housing aid for older people in 2010 was almost at €31 million. However, in 2018 ALONE say only €14 million was available to older people. In almost a decade, ALONE say there has been a 50% decrease in housing grants allocations for older people.
Ireland’s ageing population is growing, with the proportion of the population aged 60 and over set to increase by over 51% between 2016 and 2031, according to CSO population projections. The number of people aged 70 and over will increase by over 70% between 2016 and 2031, and those aged over 80 will increase by almost 91% during this period. ALONE estimate that Ireland needs €84.5 million a year over the next couple of years for solely older people.
“The extensive need for home adaptations for older people was emphasised by Covid-19. It is clear that we need more latitude across the country to support older people to age at home for as long as possible.," says ALONE CEO Seán Moynihan.
"By 2031, just under one quarter of our population will be aged 60 or over. Years ago the grant would have offered much more money but now, when we have an additional quarter of a million older people, we require much more to cater for our ageing population. In 2020, housing issues have been the third highest need that we get calls for assistance from.”
ALONE is encouraging older people who need advice to call 0818 222 024 from 8am-8pm, seven days a week and visit www.alone.ie.